Russian domestic meat production has already reached such as level that there is no longer a place in the country for European meat, Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev said on Wednesday.
"We have learned to produce fairly competitive products, devaluation helped us in this. If all barriers were to be removed now and French beef or German pork came here, they would cost more taking into account logistics. We're very competitive, which means there is no place in Russia for European meat," Tkachev told reporters.
Consumers have also already become accustomed to domestic production, the minister said.
Speaking at a ministry meeting on Wednesday, Tkachev shared his impressions from a recent meeting in Paris meeting with representatives of France's Agriculture Ministry and the European Union.
Representatives of these countries still see Russia as a region to which it is only possible to ship their products, a "territory suitable for the sale of products, foremost livestock farming products," Tkachev said. They still believe that there is a huge food shortage in Russia and that Russians cannot feed themselves, he added.
"On one hand, I felt a feeling of bitterness that we are seen as a country for sales, but on the other hand, I felt pride that the 'golden age' when everything could be shipped to Russia unimpeded has passed, and even if the sanctions [restricting food imports into Russia] are lifted, their products are no longer needed," Tkachev said.
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"We're on the right path," Tkachev said, speaking about the export orientation of Russia's agricultural sector.
Tkachev also said that one of the issues discussed at the recent meeting of the International Epizootic Bureau that he attended was giving Russia the status of a country free of foot-and-mouth disease. "This is very important for us, particularly for exports of livestock products," the minister said.